Let's Go Shopping March 2008

About This Report

Money to spend: At least in part because of high fuel and food prices, some consumer groups reduced retail spending well in advance of policy makers' acknowledgment of a softening economy.

Shopping Cart: Marketers of products from all retail sectors can benefit from a better understanding of what types of items different consumer groups continue to purchase as money and credit tighten.

Blue-Light Special: In addition to economic worries facing the majority of voters preparing to go to the polls in November 2008, pocketbook pressures and environmental concerns may prompt a long-term shift in consumer attitudes about living well with less.

Well into the first quarter of 2008, economic news has not been encouraging. Some experts claim that the effects of the recent mortgage crisis are spilling over to affect negatively other important sectors of the consumer marketplace such as automotive sales. In many parts of the United States, declining home values and significant consumer and credit-card debt are increasingly worrisome to many people. Given continuing record-high fuel prices and rising food costs, consumer budgets are feeling a strain. Retail sales have slowed to such an extent that a number of economic-policy advisors publicly acknowledge that the stimulus package, in spite of its rapid passage by Congress, will be too little, too late to reverse sluggish consumer spending. Even with the promise of a check in the mail, many voters in this year's presidential primaries tell pollsters that the economy trumps Iraq as the most important issue facing the United States.

This report chronicles the buying behaviors of the eight VALS™ consumer groups from September 2005 to April 2007, the period leading into the economic downturn. The report is based on the latest data available from Mediamark Research & Intelligence, LLC (MRI). Snapshots of representative couples for each of the types describe their family, general shopping orientation, and retail-store preferences. Following each snapshot, shopping carts provide a list of purchases that the couples made in the past year: Purchases include clothing; shoes; personal items such as books, costume jewelry, and fragrance; furniture; housewares; textiles; tools; and technology products.

Table of Contents

Innovators 3
Snapshot: Michael and Sandy Brewster 3
Thinkers 6
Snapshot: Joan and Bob Shulman 6
Believers 9
Snapshot: Bill and Helen Martinez 9
Achievers 11
Snapshot: Elizabeth and John Kim 11
Strivers 14
Snapshot: Tayissa and Kevin Johnson 14
Experiencers 16
Snapshot: Crystal Emerson and Jason Hall 16
Makers 19
Snapshot: Bill and Kathy Calaham 19
Survivors 21
Snapshot: Betty and Harold Williams 21
Boxes
The Brewsters' Shopping Cart 4
The Shulmans' Shopping Cart 7
The Martinezes' Shopping Cart 10
The Kims' Shopping Cart 12
The Johnsons' Shopping Cart 15
Jason and Crystal's Shopping Cart 17
The Calahams' Shopping Cart 20
The Williamses' Shopping Cart 22

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